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CD Feature/ Flintglass: "Circumsounds"; disHARMONY: "Cloned"

img  Tobias
I am still fascinated by how a label can simply come popping up out of nowhere, creating a creative community of dedicated listeners and likeminded artists from scratch. Well into 2007, Hive and associated Suspicious Records owned all but a monopoly on the American market of heavy, distorted and experimental audio, unleashing a gushing stream of edgey and progressive releases. Barely a year later, there is a veritable alternative thanks to the musical-, marketing- and visual talents of Tympanik Audio’s league of crafty ladies and gentlemen.

Over the past twelve months, the label has made its entrance with an astounding seven releases. A large portion of the positive press was down to the tightly packed introductory label sampler “Emerging Organisms”. On two discs, Tympanik brought together popular favourites from the orbit of Haujobb, Empusae and Ab Ovo, bundling them with a string of promising debutants. It was a statement of intent, promising high quality standards and a diversified release policy.

The hard work had, of course, only begun. A nice compilation is a delectable item for sure bug translating a comprehensive philosophy to highly personal solo albums makes for a far more difficult mission. In this regard, it remains a pleasant mystery how Tympanik have managed to elicit almost exclusively warm words and appreciative nods for records by daring newcomers like Subheim, publishing music from the coldest regions of Alaska to the relentless heat of Greece.

One of the most important artists on the Tympanik Audio roster is, without any doubt, Gwenn Trémorin aka Flintglass and the way their relationship will develop could be defining to the label as a whole: Trémorin is one of the few producers capable of reaching back in time for inspiration without sacrificing his soul on the alters of retro. He is also a composer whose vision seamlessly includes the mechanical metrum of digital beats and a highly sensitive musicality - the result of a past as a bassist with a love for sludgy Indie Rock.

While there is as yet no information on a new full-length of original material, “Circumsounds” is a great way to kill time until it arrives. A 72-minute collection of 15 tracks, the disc highlight’s Flint Glass’ talents as a remixer – not necessarily a capacity he has become famous for, but one he obviously esteems highly. “Circumsounds” is an eclectic mix of styles and genres, moods and approaches marked by a great respect for the original author and the unfaltering will to take these pieces to the same hypnotically deep space as his own pieces.

A lot of the tunes here are powered by the recognisable broken beats of IDM. Sensual, slow and powdered with a fine coating of controlled distortion, the transparent and crystaline mix brings the warm bass impulses, creepy ambiances and every single sonic detail to the fore, creating a pristine and alluring panoramic sound. In addition, however, there is a whole array of spikey tracks which agreably fail to live up to any easy expectations or pre-defined characteristics. Trémorin’s take on HIV’s “Doors of Perception” is obsessed with nightmarish fogs and breaths, with the filigree drum track stoically pounding and puckering away in the distance.

Seagued into a continous set, the general flow is more important than individual tracks and yet, there are several moments of bliss that stand out for their contagious potential: The premonitious resonance of “Air Field” condensing into weightless beats, the way “Les Esprits” (formerly by Shizuka) grooves like a spaceship in Chinatown and the prismatically cinematic trance of closer “Blood for Oil”. “Circumsounds” blends Ritual, Ambient, Industrial, Dance, Gothic and Drum n Noise into a smooth and fruitful cocktail, best served loud and making for one of the ideal alternative soundtracks to this Summer.

Interestingly enough, a second standout from the Tympanik Audio catalogue has been another remix compilation with some surprising intersections. “Cloned” by dISHARMONY presents new versions of pieces by the likes of Polygon, Sara Noxx, Tabor Radosti and (you might have guessed it) Flint Glass. Long-term darlings of the Slovakian underground, the duo balances the beauty of darkly radiating synthesizer melodies and luminous sequencer runs on the one hand with shredded beats on the other.

Even though this formula is a red thread throughout the collection, the band fuses these elements into catchy, carefully crafted pieces replete with fresh ideas and physical impulses, juxtaposing furious speed barrages with soft, dreamy textures. While some pieces can run for a full six minutes, most barely exceed the four minute mark, underlining the importance of a varied menu.

Considering the extensive duration of “Cloned”, it is remarkable that the level of inventiveness remains high until the very end, when the band take plaintive leave with the sombre sounds of “Kasida”. On the other hand, their cover of former Black Metal act Burzum’s “Tuistoz Herz” already offered a degree of romanticism and ardency in the early stages of the album, promising a lot for their fourth full-length record. The same can be said for Tympanik Audio, who already have six more releases lined up for this year.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Flint Glass
Homepage: dISHARMONY
Homepage: Tympanik Audio

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